When Toyota finally sells its hydrogen-powered FCV sedan next year, you will be buying more than just a car. According to the Japanese carmaker, it "could be the answer to keeping the lights on when power cuts strike."
At the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Toyota demonstrated the car's potential as a backup energy supplier.
With a full tank of hydrogen fuel and with its electric motor producing more than 100kW, the FCV can reportedly generate enough energy to power a regular home for a week. Toyota, though, is developing an external power supply device that can be used with the car "to provide a safe and simple domestic connection."
The FCV’s potential as an emergency power supply is secondary to its main role as a practical, zero-emissions vehicle, of course. Benefiting from Toyota's extensive hydrogen fuel-cell research and development, the FCV supposedly has a range of at least 480km on a full tank, which can be refilled just as quickly and safely as a conventional gasoline or diesel model. When driven, the car's only tailpipe emission is water, the byproduct of the fuel cell system's electricity-generation process.
Powering homes using its vehicles isn't new for Toyota. The company claims that in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, its hybrid vehicles--most notably the Prius models--were drafted as emergency energy sources.